Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Visa® Review [2024]: Can You Earn Free Bitcoin?

Upgrade is offering a Bitcoin rewards card that allows you to earn free cryptocurrency on your spending. But is it right for you?
Updated May 13, 2024
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Editor's note
The Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Visa® is no longer accepting applications. Compare other rewards credit cards to find an alternative option.

When looking for a rewards credit card, it’s important to look for a rewards program you’re interested in, or one that you’ll actually use. One interesting new trend is cards that offer cryptocurrency rewards.

If you’re interested in buying Bitcoin (BTC) or other cryptocurrencies, a rewards credit card like the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Visa® could be a good choice. This card is the latest offering from the fintech company Upgrade, which also offers personal loans.1

Before you move forward, make sure this card fits your needs. Our Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Visa review can help you decide whether this is the right credit card for your financial goals.

In this Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Visa review

Who should get the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Visa?

The Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards card is designed for those who aren’t sure how to buy Bitcoin, or who don’t want to go through the process of setting up a crypto wallet and purchasing the cryptocurrency on an exchange or some other way.

As a crypto credit card, the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Visa could be a good choice for cardholders who are interested in owning digital currency, but who don't want to risk their money and would rather have it in the form of rewards. Because Upgrade also offers some other financial services, such as personal loans, this card also has some interesting repayment features.

This card offers 1.5% unlimited bitcoin rewards on all purchases when you pay them back. Because of it, it can be fairly easy to rack up Bitcoin rewards over time. However, it’s important to note that redeeming your Bitcoin for cash back can take time. For those who want straightforward cash rewards that are easy to redeem, this card might not be the best choice.

Card basics

Card type Cash Back
Credit card issuer Sutton Bank
Credit card network Visa
Reward rate 1.5% unlimited bitcoin rewards on all purchases when you pay them back
Recommended credit score Excellent, Good

Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Visa benefits and perks

  • Crypto rewards for all purchases: You don’t have to worry about rotating categories or keeping track of purchases. This card earns a flat up to 1.5% back in the form of Bitcoin. You have the potential to see higher gains depending on the market and when you sell your Bitcoin for cash.
  • Regular installments for repayment: Upgrade makes it easy to repay your balance in equal installments, which helps you pay off your card faster and reduce what you pay in interest compared with traditional credit card minimum payments and balances that are subject to variable interest rates. This credit card is actually a credit card-personal line of credit hybrid. That means your “draws,” or expenditures will feature a fixed rate and your monthly payments will be on a set installment plan.
  • Easy access to credit line: You can use your Upgrade Card to make purchases at stores or online, but you can also request money from your line of credit be transferred directly to your bank account.
  • Visa Signature Card benefits: When you get the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards card, you have access to Visa Signature benefits such as extended warranty protection, roadside dispatch, identity monitoring, lost luggage reimbursement, trip cancellation insurance and more.

Drawbacks to this card

  • Not available in all states: The Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards card isn’t available in all states. If you live in Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, West Virginia, Wisconsin, or the District of Columbia, you won’t be able to use this credit card.
  • Bitcoin holding period: When you make your first Bitcoin sale for redemption, there’s a 90-day holding period. And Bitcoin sales can also be redeemed only for statement credits against your card’s balance.
  • No welcome bonus: Upgrade doesn’t offer a welcome bonus for the Bitcoin Rewards card, so you won’t receive anything extra when you sign up.

Earning and redeeming Bitcoin

Best ways to earn

It’s important to note that you earn a flat 1.5% back in Bitcoin for all spending categories. However, you don’t receive that 1.5% back when you make your purchases. Instead, you receive your rewards when you make your on-time payments. When you repay your purchases, you get the 1.5%, which is used to buy Bitcoin and held in custody for you until you decide to sell.

The main advantage to this reward is that your earnings could improve if the price of Bitcoin goes up over time. Keeping your Bitcoin in custody and waiting to redeem it until later could potentially lead to bigger returns, as long as Bitcoin increases in price.

Categories Rewards rate
All purchases when you pay them back 1.5%

Maximizing your redemptions

Your best bet in redemptions is to hold onto your Bitcoin until the price increases. However, you might not see the level of redemption you expect if Bitcoin actually falls in price.

It’s important to note that your first Bitcoin redemption comes with a 90-day holding period, so you’ll have to wait to receive your cash. On top of that, you can redeem your sold Bitcoin for a statement credit. As a result, it’s usually best for redemption if you have purchases on your card that you can pay off when you sell your Bitcoin.

Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card FAQs

What other cards offer bitcoin rewards?

Although Upgrade claims to be the first generally available Bitcoin rewards card, there are other credit cards available that allow you to earn cryptocurrency rewards. Gemini is a crypto exchange that offers a crypto credit card: the Gemini Credit Card.

Does the Bitcoin Rewards Card report to the credit bureaus?

You need a good to excellent credit score to qualify for the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Visa, and Upgrade does report to the major credit bureaus.

Should I get an Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card or a personal loan?

Whether you get an Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Visa or personal loan depends on your individual situation. The Upgrade credit card is kind of a hybrid credit card and personal loan product. Although it functions like a credit card, allowing you to make purchases, the payments are divided up in a way that’s similar to personal loans. If you’re interested in learning more about personal loan options, check out our Upgrade personal loan review.

Other cards to consider

If the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card doesn’t sound like the right fit for you, there are other cards to consider if you’re looking for a simpler cashback card.

The Citi Double Cash® Card is a Mastercard that offers 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases; plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24. Plus, if you’re looking for a card to help you tackle debt, there’s a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for the 18 months (then 19.24% - 29.24% (Variable)). If you want more straightforward cash rewards with the ability to get cash in your account, not just as a statement credit, this can be a good choice.

For more details, read our Citi Double Cash Card review.

For those looking for tiered rewards based on their most-used categories, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® can make sense. This card offers 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases. On top of that, there’s a generous welcome bonus: Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). This card can be good for those who focus on categories and want more redemption choices.

For more details, read our Chase Freedom Unlimited review.

Author Details

Miranda Marquit Miranda Marquit has covered personal finance for more than a decade and is a nationally-recognized financial expert and journalist, appearing on CNBC, NPR, Forbes, Yahoo! Finance, FOX Business, and numerous other outlets.

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